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St. John's Wort (2001)

Otogiriso (original title)
A game designer, and his girlfriend Nami, drive out to a decrepit mansion she just inherited, to film backgrounds for a new video game called St. John's Wort.

Director:

Ten Shimoyama

Writers:

Goro Nakajima (screenplay) (as Gorô Nakajima), Takenori Sentô (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Megumi Okina ... Nami Kikushima / Naomi Kaizawa
Yôichirô Saitô Yôichirô Saitô ... Kohei Matsudaira
Kôji Ohkura Kôji Ohkura ... Shin'ichi Ukita
Reiko Matsuo Reiko Matsuo ... Tôko Koseki
Minoru Terada Minoru Terada ... Sôichi Kaizawa (as Minoru)
Yasunari Hashimoto Yasunari Hashimoto ... Voice on the Radio (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kim Little ... Nami Kikushima (voice)
Jeff G. Peters Jeff G. Peters ... Radio DJ (voice)
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Storyline

Nami has been creating artwork for a new video game based on images she's been seeing in her dreams. With one of the game producers, she travels out to an abandoned house that seems to match her visions. As they explore the old mansion, Nami begins to have more visions of a forgotten childhood, until at last she comes across a photo of twin infants, labelled "Nami" and "Naomi". As Nami and the producer go from room to room, an unseen person seems to be watching them from a hidden room. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

27 January 2001 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

St. John's Wort See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Girlie
Written by Kazuya Yoshii
Performed by The Yellow Monkey
Courtesy of BMG Funhouse
See more »

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User Reviews

 
a new perspective for the passive viewer
9 May 2002 | by ETCmodel02See all my reviews

Excellent production design within a tight scope that had enough room to breathe that the view should never feel cheated. I enjoyed the abundant MAC, Quick Time and Lycos product placements, a nice now to the media savvy. Some other nice touches, like a great video game level maker that is a Japanese go girl with blonde mane instead of the expected 20-something white male hacker stereotype.

Aesthetically I was enthralled with the stacks of amazingly, nay, beautifully disturbing paintings all about the home.

There is lots of playful stuttered editing, stylistically playing heavily on multiple planes of perspective (filmic reality vs. hidden cameras vs. the hand held camera one character is toting around). Reminds me at times of the aspects that I liked of the classic horror games like Seventh Guest. I think that really was why the film was nifty for me, a former video game artist / designer. The layers of real vs. game in the making and the tight interaction between the adventuring couple inside the mansion vs. the go girl artist and pensive programmer back in the design studio. The inter-cutting of the two locations combined with the playful changes moment to moment in virtual film stocks and perceived point of view really took this tidy, cute little yarn to a new level. Minute details like the miscellaneous brass keys helps convey the parallels as well; the keys seemed like level objectives true to genre. The design of the film further seems to question the movie's very existence as a construction in all as well as in layered fictional elements, wrapped up nicely with a sense of choices being explored without undermining the integrity of the narrative.

Admirably, throughout the film the narrative toys with the notion of linear versus interactive, which tends to parallel the comparison of film to video games respectively. This film actually approaches a sort of implied interactivity, a new perspective for the viewer in a time based medium to the proverbial backbone of the narrative that I've not previously seen, at moments both inside the story and as well a voyeur to the story. As linear progression without options is an abstraction of reality humans accept far too easily, this film did a splendid job of perverting the linear and can at least be viewed as a solid indication of the potential of newer technologies applied to film projects yet to come.


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